"did i wake you up?" asked eliza through the cellphone. "no...yes...no..." i answered back, not sure if i should lie and pretend i wasn't a second ago sleeping soundly, or tell the truth and make her feel bad. she invited me to have brunch at johnny d's in davis square with her friends shauna and erin. the gears in my brain started spinning and after a few seconds of computation i said yes, despite the fact that i knew it'd be a snowy cold mess outside and i'd rather spend the day indoors playing katamari damacy (but you don't lightly say no to brunch with 3 ladies either). i was actually surprised eliza was willing to come all this way for brunch since she had a longer distance to travel (the other side of the river); this marks the second year in a row where eliza has made an appearance on my birthday (which isn't that big a deal, considering we're both born in 1974 - the best year ever!). by the time i left - walking through 10"+ deep snow (and still falling) - i got a call from eliza pushing back the brunch time to noon. i was already too far out to go back home, so i trudged on to porter square, picked up a packet of kleenex from the cvs, then took the T one stop to davis square (i had time to walk it, but there was just too much snow). i had 45 minutes to kill so i wandered around davis square. a few stores were either not yet opened or closed for the day due to the bad weather. i found solace in brooke's, wandering the aisles, finally buying some licorice candy.
i went to johnny d's at noon and waited outside for a few minutes (slowly covered in snow) before taking a peek inside and surprised to see everyone was already there. there was a 4th person, kelly, a friend of shauna's. after looking over the menu i ordered the asparagus + mushrooms + swiss cheese scrambled eggs. my food arrived with a little birthday candle planted on top of my scrambled eggs. "make a wish!" everyone exclaimed, as i blew out the candle, my mind a perfect blank (a birthday wish opportunity wasted!). eliza ordered some pancakes which were the size of manhole covers (i think she ate one, portioned off a few quarters to her friends, and still had enough for leftover to take home). the four of us minus kelly grabbed the T; erin and i got off after one stop in porter square and walked to our respective homes. i went to star market to get a few items and when i came back out i bumped into rahda and dave (they didn't recognize me at first without my goatee), out walking around enjoying the snow. i hurried off, kicked off my wet clothes, and jumped into video game bliss, playing an hour of katamari (i finally finished the classroom level).
for dinner i had chinese hot pot with my entire family at the cafe. despite my warnings against presents, my sister gave me a set of takara bird robots. i pretended i wasn't impressed and asked if she could return them, but deep down i knew they'd give me the kind of joy that only avian automatons can bring. they have a photo sensor, so when they detect somebody walking by, they suddenly start chirping and flapping their tails and turning their heads. if you saw them from a distance you'd swear they were real birds (i know: because i've had a real bird fly into the office before). i got a bluebird, a goldfinch, and a parakeet, with a cardinal along the way (not yet arrived). hot pot was the crazy mess it always is; the conduction stove was too far away from where i sat and i basically ate standing up, which nobody seemed to notice. then for dessert, despite my warnings that i didn't want a birthday cake, my sister made a tiramisu, which only reminded everyone of my own tiramisu from a few weeks ago and what a miserable heavily caffeinated-sweetened failure that was. by evening's end my aunt and uncle gave me a ride back to my place. by then it had stopped snowing and the moon and the stars were shining brightly in the night sky.